VISION: The MARO Leadership Academy is a professional development program targeting employees who demonstrate leadership potential, commitment to the future of our industry, and a strong drive to achieve greater levels of responsibility. The Leadership Academy is MARO’s commitment to, and investment in, the development of future leaders with high potential to positively impact future industry growth and success.



  • To enhance the leadership, communication, strategic planning, interpersonal, and managerial skills of high potential employees within our industry.
  • To prepare the next generation of leaders to guide our industry into the future through innovation, collaboration, and leadership.
  • To build a network of professional relationships among current and future leaders.
  • To promote career satisfaction and recognize career potential of senior staff. To promote life-long learning and professional development.


The program also has a mentoring component that facilitates a relationship between each Academy participant and a CEO or member of upper management from another MARO member organization – for one-on-one discussion, guidance, advice, and opportunities to learn how the subject matter addressed in the classroom is applied in the working world.



October 4-5, 2018 – Legislative Advocacy and Leadership Skills
Legislative Advocacy presented by Sandi Jones, Muchmore Harrington Smalley
Leadership Skills presented by Chris Scharrer, New Paradigm Solutions

Hosted by Peckham, Inc., Lansing


December 11-12, 2018 – Finance & Accounting

Presented by Kristine Doran, Inland Plywood
Hosted by Mid-Michigan Industries (MMI) – Mt. Pleasant


March 6-7, 2019 – Non-Profit Governance & Board Relations

Presented by Tamela Spicer, Johnson Center for Philanthropy – Grand Valley State University
Hosted by Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids


April / May 2019 (Exact dates TBD) – Strategic Planning & Organizational Culture
Presented by Dennis Blender, Blender Consulting Group
Host location TBD in the Metro Detroit Area


Homework is assigned after each core seminar and is conducted by webinar. Additional continuing education programs in relevant elective areas will be required for completion of the Academy.



Services Director Gloria McMullan, 517-484-5588




Here is a sample of what participants have to say about the value of MARO Leadership Academy


“MARO is a wonderful organization with people dedicated to the development and rights of individuals with disabilities. The leadership academy was a great experience. Talking with like-minded individuals, learning about other organizations and how our organizations better our communities was an invaluable experience. The leaders and speakers were very informative and uplifting.”  

– D. McKimmy, Thumb Industries, Inc.


“…It will be an experience like no other. Not only will they learn great leadership skills, but they will also make lifelong friendships and connections.”  

 – J. Cornelison – Esters Hope


“The MARO Leadership Academy fine tune your existing leadership skills as well as provide new thought processes that have been so useful with my Leadership position.”                                                        

– T. White, STEP


“Attending MARO Leadership Academy empowered me to succeed. I was able to strengthen my leadership skills and gain additional knowledge and confidence that contributed to my advancement at New Horizons. MARO Leadership Academy provides an invaluable outside network and the skills learned through this program can be used and applied in everyday operations. With hard work and perseverance, we all have it in us to be great leaders!”   

– K. Pietrylka, New Horizons Rehabilitations Services


“The opportunity to create a network of professionals in our field is one of the greatest strengths of the program.” 

– S. George –Peckham, Inc.






Leadership academy MLA Application 2019 PDF